United States DHS' X-ray scanners could be cancer risk to border crossers

Discussion in 'Border Controls, Customs and Immigration' started by Lisa Simeone, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    DHS' X-ray scanners could be cancer risk to border crossers

  2. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    I find it hard to believe they would not remove the people first from their cars. This is crazy.
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  3. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    I guess we all knew Janet Napolitano and the rest of the DHS kooks were criminally insane. It begs the question: how low will they go?
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  4. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    I've heard this as a goal before. They think of it as a feature - "you don't even have to get out of your car." Yay. Well, except for the cancer part.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  5. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    One real issue I have with this, which for the most part doesn't affect me personally since normal grocery-store food is good enough for me, is that people in "natural food" industries really stand to get screwed by this if they just start scanning vehicles wholesale. There is a substantial market for premium-priced natural foods that have never been subjected to pesticides, growth hormones, radiation, etc. What happens when DHS just tries to scan everything?

    And what if you are carrying film?

    I worked in a warehouse for a while 16+ years ago where one of our regular loads (we split up the full truck loads & handled local distribution was) Kodak -- lots of FILM as well as chemicals. Hospitals aren't going to be too happy if their shipments arrive pre-fogged.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  6. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Read the whole thing to follow the money. Of course, big corporations are getting rich off this stuff.
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  7. FaustsAccountant

    FaustsAccountant Original Member

    What's cancer risk, damaged tissue or readjusted chromosomes for the price of "s.a.f.e.t.y?":rolleyes:

    But I totally agree. Just like everything else associated with these organizations, it starts with a few border checkpoints, and than a month later it's 1984.

    "For its part, Homeland Security says the dose is safe and based on commonly accepted government standards (
    ) established by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement, "

    And this part also bothers me because the "accepted government standard" is a best guess at the moment, 'standards' can change and be adjusted as we learn and research. Through history, how many times have we had to go back and realize the 'accepted standard' was wrong?

  8. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    I knew I had this article squirreled away in my files, and I found it -- I'd actually posted it once before, in this thread:


    Source: Joint press release from the TSA and New York Department of Transportation revealing -- nay, bragging -- about the fact that people can be scanned without their knowledge:
    TSA and the New York City Department of Transportation Announce Pilot to Test Passive Explosives Detection Technology at the Staten Island Ferry

    Here's the URL, in case the page someday gets scrubbed:
  9. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    And here's the complete text:

  10. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    I'm going to tweet this at EPIC. I'm sure they've seen it, but just in case....

    and done
  11. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    Huh? I'm thoroughly confused.
  12. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    These are devices like those at http://www.millivision.com/. They render objects under your clothes that are not your body. so, if you don't have breast implants or intimate medical devices, you're probably fine.
    but it is still looking under your clothing, still against the requirements of the 4th. They can use this device anywhere they want to...

    oh joy
  13. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    First of all, how much do they pay a DHS/TSA employee to come up with acronyms?

    I wonder how many explosives this test program found. None? Of course, the test will be declared a success and passive scanning will be expanded.

    Of course there are privacy issues involved if the thing can see under your clothes. How many ostomy bags did it pick up?

    Can one put something under one's arm and hold that arm tight to one's side, thereby hiding whatever it is under the arm?

    Does the scanner do a 360 degree scan or does it "see" only one side of the body?

    Were passengers being advised that they were being scanned?

    Do millimeter waves impact implanted defibrillators or pacemakers? (Calling RadioGirl.)
  14. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Probably an entire team. You know how theses bureaucracies love their acronyms!

    The press release indicates No.
  15. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    By the way, link to photo of our brave snoopers in action; can't reproduce photo here because apparently they're actually charging money for it, as if a customer would want to buy it. You can "add to cart"! On the other hand, they also offers the option to "right click, Save Target As," so that would imply free download. I have no idea. Anyway:

    090815-G-8489L-001 Coast Guard participates in VIPR
  16. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    I thought I answered this two days ago but my post seems to have failed. Sorry, I've been saving the universe elsewhere this week. ;)
    Scanners are like cameras, except that instead of visible light, the illumination is radio waves. TSA airport checkpoint MMW ("active") scanners are like taking a photo with flash in a dark (or dim) room - the scanner illuminates the body with radio wave (=flash) and records the reflection (=taking picture). The passive scanners described by Lisa are like taking a non-flash photo in broad daylight. The ambient radio energy (from the sun, mainly) illuminates the body and the scanner just looks at the reflection. "Passive" by definition means it's not transmitting anything.

    One implication is that the passive scanners CANNOT impact medical devices like pacemakers. (I would be surprised if ACTIVE scanners would have an effect, as the energy level is very low and as energy at this frequency doesn't penetrate far enough into the body (~ fractions of an inch) to reach implanted electronics, but I am not a bio-medical engineer and cannot give an authoritative statement on what might affect such devices.)

    A second implication of the passive scanners is that the resolution is quite poor; this is largely intrinsic to the way they work, not a matter of insufficient technology. I believe that the raw output of these scanners would be like the processed ATR - an outline of the body with a block where there might be something unexpected. It will likely alarm on people wearing insulin pumps or have breast prostheses (which is unnecessarily intrusive), but it's not a body imager in the way that the airport MMW scanner is.
  17. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    And a new fashion line is born -- dusters lined with tin foil (or something much like it).
  18. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

  19. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Try it, it's not really a shopping cart. They just package up the photos you want & let you download them in a single zip file.

    Anything the government puts up on a web site becomes a public record, and you have a right under the 1st amendment to publish it. That why mug shots can be freely reproduced, e.g. our favorite female assist:


    ... with due condolences to her progeny if she herself has freely reproduced.

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